Hot, humid weather making for a tough tobacco harvest

Farmers hoping for cooler, dry weather to get tobacco harvested on time

HALIFAX COUNTY, Va. – Halifax County farmer Garland Comer has 250 acres of tobacco.

"We're a little behind on the tobacco, but we're about halfway through the harvest," Comer said.

He's confident he'll be able to get all of his tobacco harvested by his self-imposed Oct. 15 deadline in order to avoid losing any of it to frost, but being a little behind could mean working longer days to catch up.

Cooler weather could help make that a little easier.

"We would love for it to cool off as we're harvesting. The last couple days have been really hot in the afternoon, but we're making by," Comer said.

Dry weather is also needed so the tobacco can be harvested.

This year's crop is better than last year's, so getting it all harvested before the frost is important in order to make up for last year.

"It helps a lot. It keeps you going forward," Comer said. "That's the good thing about farming. You can try it again another year. You get another shot at it."

In Pittsylvania County, farmer Tim Shelton has 300 acres of tobacco.

He described his crop this year as a mixed bag, but says overall it's decent.

"We were really dry in the month of June and then we got excessive rainfall, of course, in July. So we have some fields that just had too much water and the quality of the tobacco and the weight is just not up to par. But we have some farms that received less water and they're doing exceptionally well," Shelton said.

Like Comer, he's said he's a little bit behind.

"I think that I'm 10-14 days behind schedule from where I'm normally at this time of year, but we're pushing hard to try to catch up," Shelton said.

Pushing hard, even as Mother Nature continues to push the temperature up.

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